Biden: July 2011 troop cuts in Afghanistan to be ‘more than token’

Vice President Joe Biden said the beginning of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in July of 2011 will be more than a token reduction, but did not provide specifics.

“It will not be a token amount,” Biden said in an interview broadcast Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We are starting it in July 2011, and we are going to be totally out of there, come hell or high water, by 2014,” Biden said.

Biden has cited progress on the war effort and related initiatives in Pakistan but also acknowledged that major hurdles remain, echoing the White House review issued last week.

“With regard to our effort to degrade al Qaeda, we are making great progress in so-called CT, counter-terrorism, the use of special forces and the like to go after individuals who make up the leadership of al Qaeda and of the Taliban,” Biden said.

“On the issue of counterinsurgency, that is, where we clear, hold and build and transfer, we are making progress not as rapidly as we are on the other front,” he said, noting the administration is working hard on addressing safe havens in Pakistan and improved governance in Afghanistan.

Addressing the overall war effort, he said: “We are making progress. Are we making sufficient progress fast enough? The answer remains to be seen.”